Mon, Nov 6, 10:29am by Head Editor
When Tim Cahill landed awkwardly in the 24th minute of Melbourne City’s loss to Sydney FC on Friday night, the country held their breath, but thankfully, Australia’s greatest goal scorer has boarded the plane to Honduras for Saturday morning’s intercontinental playoff.
He’ll fly out from Melbourne to the northern Honduras city of San Pedro Sula, which takes around 26 hours. All in all, Ange Postecoglou’s squad will travel around 200,000 kilometres from their club homes to the central American nation, for the biggest Socceroos qualifier since the famous night against Uruguay in 2005.
The travel time, and perhaps even the injury scare to Cahill, has seen the odds for a Socceroos win in the first leg blow up to $3.70. A win for the hosts is at $2.10, while a draw, which would also be a great result for Australia, is at $3.20.
The odds for Australia to qualify are at $1.80, but that will very much rely on a strong first leg at a venue that the Hondurans have lost just one of their last seven games at.
Mile Jedinak will return to captain Australia, after the midfielder returned to Aston Villa’s line-up against Birmingham City last week.
It is the first time the veteran midfield has been part of the Australia set-up since June after struggling with a groin injury that has limited him to just 75 minutes of football this season for club and country.
The veteran’s inclusion to the line-up is a timely one, given that both Mark Milligan and Mathew Leckie’s have been suspended from the away leg after they received yellow cards in Australia’s win over Syria.
Star Honduras striker Eddie Hernandez, who’s scored over 200 goals as a professional, is set to be named in the Los Catrachos squad, just two weeks after fracturing his cheekbone in a club game for Motagua.
Hernandez and his teammates will be cheered on by a full-house of 40,000 fans, which has been described as one of the most intimidating atmospheres in world football. The same crowd that witnessed the hosts beat Mexico 3-2, which sealed Jorge Luis Pinto’s side a World Cup playoff spot against Australia.
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